- Arts & Humanities
- Social Studies
In this lesson, K-5 students select a pet and a travel destination, then find four things the pet could do at that locale. Designed for use with Inspiration/Kidspiration, the lesson can be adapted for use with other programs.
Students (on own or in whole group work) will:
- select a pet;
- select a travel location;
- read information on that location and select the important places to visit there;
- create an Inspiration web that includes the pet, the location, and the local places of interest.
Inspiration, pets, pet week, process writing
- Access to Inspiration/Kidspiration (can be just on the teacher's computer with projector or TV display)
- Access to the Internet (can be just on the teacher's computer)
This is a great lesson for Pet Week! Adaptable for grades K-5, the lesson will work with both non-writers and writers with modifications (making it a great choice for the ESL student).
Note that we will be using Kidspiration or Inspiration, graphic organizer software programs. The real advantage to using those programs is that after students create a brainstorming web, they can click one button to transform the web into an outline for writing. If you do not have either program, you can complete the lesson using just Microsoft Word or Excel.
Begin the lesson by asking students to name a place they recently visited. It could be local -- the town library -- or a faraway destination. Write some ideas on the chalkboard. Then ask what a visitor to that place might do or see there (involve students who did not go to that location). Write students suggestions on the chalkboard. Ask students to think of pictures they might take and write those ideas on the board as well.
Show students the site Cats in Paris. Look at a number of pictures and ask, "Did these cats really go to these places?" Explain that the cats' owner used a computer to cut and paste the pictures of the cats into the pictures of the locations. Explain that this is the cats' imaginary travel journal! Tell students that they are going to create their own travel journal for a pet, telling about a place where that pet went and what it did there.
The next part of the lesson can be done individually or as a whole group, depending on students' ages, writing ability, and access to computers (lab vs. two in your room). Walk students through these steps:
- Select a pet. As a class or on their own, students pick a pet who will write the journal. If using Kidspiration (grades K-2) or Inspiration (grades 3 and up), you might simply tell them to look through the pictures available there. If pictures are not available, choose clip art images in Microsoft Office, pictures off the Internet (Try pics4learning), or pictures students bring of their own pets. If doing a whole class version of this lesson, you might take a picture of the classroom snake, ferret, bunny, hamster, and so on!
- Select your travel destination. Have students select where they want their pet to travel to. Depending on your curriculum and grade level, you might want students to think locally (for Kindergarten) or in Africa (during a 4th grade unit on Africa) or somewhere else.
- Research. For grades K-3, stick with whole group research: Go to a Web site and show students what things a visitor might do at that destination. Or use print resources to save time, involve more students, and ensure that each can find the information they need. For grades 4-5, you might want them to research on their own online. Be sure to include time in the lesson to explain how to search for accurate and relevant information online!
- Select 3-5 things to do or places to see at their chosen destination. Be sure that, as they're reading, students have index cards, a window with Word open, or some other way to take notes. They should think about how that pet would behave at that site: How would a snake feel about going to a zoo and seeing other snakes behind glass, for example?
- Create the journal. As a class or as individuals, students open Inspiration or Kidspiration; type the pet's name, species, and location (Freddy the Snake in Tokyo!) in the main idea bubble; click white space; and type each of the things the pet does or sees there. Then they click the Link button and click from the main idea button to each idea. Note: This makes a simple brainstorm web, with all arrows radiating from the main idea to the other ideas. For older students, try having them use the arrows in a linear fashion (from the main idea to idea 1, then from idea 1 to idea 2) like a timeline. That will help them practice organization during writing. Finally, students click each bubble and replace it with a picture of the pet and something to do/see. Although Inspiration and Kidspiration come with hundreds of images, feel free to use clip art or real photos.
- Print your work. You might want to use a color printer if one is available. Display the student work. Students in grades 3-5 also might want to click the Outline button and print a copy of the outline made from their web.
- Write a four sentence paragraph describing the photos. ("My pet cat Rambo recently visited New York City and there he."
If students are comfortable editing images, give them the task of "inserting" their chosen pet into pictures of the
assigned location. Start with a photograph of a pet, then use both the selection and cropping tools found in paint
or photo editing software programs. The goal is to "crop out' just the pet so that all of the original background
is gone. Then copy and paste the "pet only" image into a photo of another location. Microsoft Paint (on most Windows
XP machines under Start > All Programs > Accessories) is a great and free option.
Students will be assessed on their ability to
- identify important information within print or electronic sources.
- complete a brainstorming web of related ideas.
- complete the project in a timely fashion.
Lesson Plan Source
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
GRADES K - 12
NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions